09 December 2018

Secretary-General's remarks on UN Network on Migration [as delivered]

It is an enormous pleasure to be with you at this magnificent venue on the eve of the opening of the intergovernmental conference to adopt the Global Compact for Migration.  

And I have to say that, knowing that a few weeks before there was nothing here, it is a fantastic miracle  -due to the extraordinary capacity of all our Moroccan host- to have such a beautiful convention center built out of nothing in a few weeks. So I want to say how much I admire what was done. And I know now that when I have to organize a conference centre in a quick period of time, I will ask Moroccans to come and do it for us.

Your Excellency Minister for Foreign Affairs of Morocco, Nasser Bourita, we are grateful for the outstanding hospitality shown by the Government and people of Morocco, who have so warmly welcomed us to Marrakech. 

I also thank everyone for your commitment to agreeing a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions.  

Your participation in this conference is a clear demonstration of the importance our global community places on the pursuit of the better management of international migration, through a cooperative approach that is grounded in the principles of state sovereignty, responsibility-sharing, non-discrimination and human rights. 

Many months of inclusive dialogue have produced an impressive document on one of the most pressing global challenges of our times.

Now we must breathe life into what we have agreed and demonstrate the Compact’s utility: to Governments as they establish and implement their own migration policies; to communities of origin, transit and destination; and to migrants themselves.

One of the most significant features of the Global Compact is its recognition of the essential roles to be played by many actors, including Governments and migrants themselves, of course, but also civil society, academia, trade unions, the private sector, diaspora groups, local communities, parliamentarians, national human rights institutions and the media.  

The United Nations system will also be part of that constellation of partners. 

With this in mind, we have decided to establish the United Nations Network on Migration.  This will mobilize the full extent of our capacities and expertise to support you, Member States, in this vital endeavour. 

I am grateful to my Special Representative, Louise Arbour, for overseeing the Network’s creation. And I would like to thank the United Nations colleagues throughout the system – from the Secretariat to the Agencies, Funds and Programmes – for committing to this new way of working. 

Allow me to highlight some of the Network’s core features. 

First, it will focus on collaboration. 

Second, the International Organization for Migration will play a central role.   I welcome the presence here this evening of an old friend, the new Director General of IOM, António Vitorino. 

Third, the Network will have an agile and inclusive structure. 

Fourth, the Network will support Member States and complement, rather than duplicate, other initiatives. 

And fifth, the Network will embody the diversity that is the hallmark of the United Nations, and an openness to working with all partners, at all levels. 

I am extremely confident in the leadership and the members of this new arrangement.

I commend the Network to you as a visible sign of the United Nations system’s commitment to working with you in the implementation of this historic Global Compact.

Thank you very much.